Botches All Around

« August 2014 »

Memo to death penalty supporters: YOU CAN STOP DEFENDING THIS NOW.

So, while I was busy talking about other stuff, we had another botched execution, this time in Arizona. Another experimental mystery drug cocktail, this time leading to the inmate gasping for an hour and a half before he finally died. He lived for so long lawyers had time to petition for his life to be saved while he was in the middle of being executed.

This has led to the usual predictable reactions from the people involved, and a wildly inappropriate question posed by a supposedly respectable national newspaper. That question was not, in case you were wondering, why our government is allowed to just experiment on different ways to kill people.

First out of the gate was Arizona governor and chronically awful human being Jan Brewer, who issued a statement that, when you read between the lines, essentially reads, "shut up you fucking hippies":

"One thing is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer. This is in stark comparison to the gruesome, vicious suffering that he inflicted on his two victims – and the lifetime of suffering he has caused their family."

Well, by SOME eyewitness and medical accounts he didn't suffer. Some people consider gasping for breath and wheezing for 90 minutes as you die "suffering", some don't. But it doesn't matter, because as far as Jan Brewer is concerned, her moral responsibility is merely to make sure the state limits the suffering of those it kills to an amount 99% or less of the suffering they caused.

Which is, of course, some bullshit. We should at least strive for our government to be more than incrementally better than a mass murderer. I realize how difficult that is, especially in Arizona, but Jan Brewer shouldn't get to pat herself on the back for it. And speaking of oddly self-congratulatory, here's Arizona's prison chief Doug Nick:

"Media reports, some of which were made prior to any information officially being released on the day of the execution, reached the premature and erroneous conclusion that this execution was ‘botched’... The Medical Examiner reported to the department that in regards to the placement of the IVs, they were ‘perfectly placed’. He further explained to the department that the catheters in each arm were completely within the veins and there was no leakage of any kind, and that anything that was put through the IVs went into the veins."

Well, there you go! Unlike that last botched execution, we got the IVs in the arms and everything! Calling it "botched" is wrong! Sure, the weird cocktail we assembled via medical guesswork didn't kill the guy right away, but what matters is, we didn't spill any putting it in him. THE SYSTEM WORKS.

Yet another botched execution led, as it usually does, to a few days of media scrutiny before we forget about it and move on to the next thing until the next thing is the next botched execution. For the Washington Post, this scrutiny took the form of an article with the headline "Should The Condemned Suffer? Victim Families Torn".

I'm sure they are. But you know what we don't base our public policy on? The justifiable but extreme emotions of people who've suffered a horrible loss. You know why? Because THEY'RE EXTREME EMOTIONS. It's the same reason the "what would you think about sentencing if your daughter was raped" argument is bullshit. It doesn't matter what I'd think under those circumstances. You shouldn't listen to me under those circumstances. I'm not gonna be rational.

And who the fuck asks if anyone "should suffer"? I mean, I know the world is full of bastards, and I know there are lots of people whose suffering I'm not going to lose sleep over, but that's different from actually asking whether or not we should cause that suffering. But hey, what's another sociopathic institution out of Washington, D.C.?